continuo

noun
con·​tin·​uo | \ kən-ˈtin-yə-ˌwō How to pronounce continuo (audio) , -ˈti-nə- \
plural continuos

Definition of continuo

: a bass part (as for a keyboard or stringed instrument) used especially in baroque ensemble music and consisting of a succession of bass notes with figures that indicate the required chords

called also figured bass, thoroughbass

Examples of continuo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Listen out for the slow middle movement without a continuo, solemn and still, set against a charming gavotte to wrap up. E.c., The Economist, "Classical music A trio-sonata playlist," 21 May 2020 Scored for five voices, five unspecified instrumental parts and basso continuo, the music is reverent and wistful. New York Times, "Before Bach, He Was Germany’s Greatest Composer," 20 Mar. 2020 Finally, the all-Bach program showcased BCSD’s brand new continuo organ, a small portable pipe organ used to play harmony in Baroque music. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Bach Collegium San Diego opens season with a lovely Bach cantata," 12 Oct. 2019 From the harpsichord, Bezuidenhout deftly carried out the double duties of continuo and conductor, the symmetrical orchestra played with plenty of heart, and as soloists, the eight singers were unassailable. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Bushels of Bach at Boston Early Music Festival," 12 June 2019 The conductorless pit orchestra, anchored by an astute continuo section and concertmaster Robert Mealy, served the music with vigor. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "With ‘Orlando generoso,’ a generous helping of baroque opera," 10 June 2019 No such problems informed the adroit playing of continuo cellist Kenneth Olsen. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Avi Avital's brilliant debut highlights lively, engaging CSO program," 8 June 2018 Floral top note, high-altitude, but at the same time there’s the basso-continuo note of the forest floor. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "A Vintner’s Quest to Create a Truly American Wine," 14 May 2018 The chamber orchestra of strings and organ continuo gave fluent support to the singers, who delivered their solos with conspicuous feeling and blended beautifully in their duets. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Youth and experience score separate victories, as Orlinski debuts and Pollini returns," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continuo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of continuo

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for continuo

borrowed from Italian, short for basso continuo "continuous bass"

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The first known use of continuo was circa 1724

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Cite this Entry

“Continuo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continuo. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on continuo

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about continuo

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